Narrowing the Breast Cancer Death Gap

By Medline Newsroom Staff | August 14, 2019

Over the past 30 years, clinical improvements in breast cancer detection and treatment have led to large improvements in survival rates. However, those gains have not been shared with everyone. In 2006, the Sinai Urban Health Institute published a paper that showed large and growing disparities in Chicago between black and white women with respect to breast cancer mortality. Black women in the Chicago area were 62% more likely to die from breast cancer than their white peers, according to the study. Meanwhile cities such as New York and San Francisco had low or non-existent breast cancer mortality disparities.

The Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force was born to combat this disparity.  They started by gathering data to assess the local care landscape. They then used the data to establish a unique evidence based model to help them understand this health inequity and identify areas for improvements. Based on their findings, they took several actions that after a decade have helped to significantly reduce the health disparity. After a decade of their work, they published a new scientific paper that found that Chicago is now #1 in the nation in reducing breast cancer deaths among African-American women.

The Community Impact Grant Program for Breast Cancer Awareness, funded by the Medline Foundation, is helping the task force expand their reach. Using these funds awarded last fall, the group is extending their services to communities outside Chicago, including outreach, education, workshops and navigation to free mammograms to the women of Lake County, Illinois. They soon expect to expand their free exams to including testing and navigation for cervical cancer.

“We have worked hard over the last decade to uncover the barriers that women experience to getting high quality breast care,” says Dr. Anne Marie Murphy, executive director of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.  “We are excited to expand our work and to help more women in Lake County.  Medline and the Medline Foundation’s investment in our work will save lives.”

The Medline Foundation is accepting grant applications through August 30th. Learn more about the Community Impact Grant Program for Breast Cancer Awareness and apply here.

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Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

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